Spoiling LOST

Don’t worry, no spoilers in this post. But apparently they’re now out there for Season 4, on the fan site DarkUFO:

Apparently he has received very specific spoilers for the season finale, and has posted the synopsis of the first hour of three, apparently a very detailed scene-by-scene reveal…Andy, the proprietor of DarkUFO, says he received the information from a source claiming to call himself Lostfan108. If you don’t remember, Lostfan108 was the person who gave Dark the spoiler for the finale of Season 3, perhaps one of the biggest mindfucks in television history.

The Washington Post recently ran a story on spoiling, focusing on the idea of our need for instant gratification. Our “lizard brain” at work.

Rather than gratification, though, spoiling can be seen in the context of participatory culture, a term MIT’s Henry Jenkins uses in his text, “Convergence…” Jenkins calls the act of spoiling “collective intelligence in practice,” meaning that the new media paradigm today is two-way, that when fans act together to look for clues in media texts (and LOST, if anything, is about clues and reading-in-depth…), they are playing a role much different from a passive recipient of culture. Collective intelligence is about agency, it’s about empowerment, and it’s about play. And as Jenkins notes, “play is one of the ways we learn.” (Jenkins goes on to suggest the learning involved in spoiling television shows can also be applied to politics and civics, something we see realized in the political blogosphere.)

The question here, though, is what kind of “spoiling” is being done in the case of DarkUFO and Lostfan108? DarkUFO seems to have taken some care in announcing this turn of events:

Just to let you know that I’ve just been contacted by LostFan108 again and he has provided me with the main synopsis points for Episode 4.12 Parts 1, 2 and 3.

Tomorrow we will be posting a high level synopsis for 4.12 Part 1 and then sometime before 19th May we will post the key highlights from Parts 2 and 3. This will include all the main cliffhangers and talking points, including who the kiss is between, who is in the coffin (It shocked me) and what the Frozen Donkey Wheel is, along with any deaths.

I’m making this post to warn as many of you who don’t like the big spoilers to stay clear of this section of the site as well as any other unmoderated message boards as there will certainly be idiots who will post it wildly around the net.

Still, this is much less about “collective intelligence in practice” and more like simply spoiling the ending, giving credence to the lizard brain pleasures discussed in the WaPo article. For people who just want to know the ending, sure, that’s all about instant gratification.

But for fans sites such as Lostpedia, which is my go-to site for all things LOST, the fun is in the journey. There, episode synopsis pages each contain an “Unanswered Questions” section, such as this, from the most recent program. Each episode also has a corresponding theories page, where ideas and explanations are passed back and forth. Still rules about spoiling are enforced.

Lostpedia is spoiling-in-practice, much less about gratification than a journey, a quest for answers. This kind of spoiling is a way to move beyond passivity and shape media into something we discover, and make our own.

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One response

  1. […] around the show on the net, aren’t so much about finding out the plot points, but are ways to think through and search for answers. “Spoiling” is more about empowerment and agency, and this kind of audience […]

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